Three legends retire: Fedor Emelianenko, Tito Ortiz and Peter AertsPosted on June 26, 2012, 06:58 PM by Mike Searson
The Last Emperor, the Huntington Beach Bad Boy and the Dutch Lumberjack are hanging up their gloves. The worlds of MMA and Kickboxing will be a smaller place without them; these three champions have thrilled fans for decades and 2012 is the last time we will see any of them fight. Although this writer does not like to loosely toss around the word, "legends", in these three cases, the word is wholly appropriate.
Fedor Emelianenko fought his last bout on June 21 with a knockout victory over Pedro Rizzo in St. Petersburg, Russia. He was personally congratulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin (a high level practitioner of sambo, judo and karate in his own right). Fedor fought an almost decade-long undefeated win streak in MMA and epitomized the spirit of MMA by always being unpredictable in his bouts. Whether it was a 36 second submission over Tim Sylvia or a knockout of Andrei Arlovski, the Last Emperor's fights were never boring.
Of his 34 career wins, 16 were by submission and 10 by knockout. Only 8 of his fights ever went to the judges and in all 8 instances, Emelianenko was the victor. His four losses (3 by KO and one submission) proved that the knockout factor might be the only thing to stop him.
Tito Ortiz will fight his last battle in the Octagon this July 7 at UFC 148. His first UFC fight was back when the promotion was barely four-years-old at UFC 13 in 1997. He kept the sport alive during the "dark days of the UFC" and has fought just about every legend to step into the cage including: Ken Shamrock, Frank Shamrock, Guy Mezger, Vitor Belfort, Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture.
Ortiz brought panache and controversy to the UFC and became known for his antics outside the Octagon as well. Although his larger-than life persona turned some purists off, Ortiz proved to be a different man when it came to coaching or cornering a young fighter.
With a career spanning three decades and then some, Peter Aerts will bow out of the ring this Saturday at It's Showtime in Brussells, Belgium. Known as the Dutch Lumberjack for his devastating high-kicks,; Aerts leaves behind a rich legacy of his own, breaking two world records in K-1: at age 40, he became the oldest man to ever make it to the K-1 World Grand Prix Final and he made it six times to the K-1 Finals, more than any other kickboxer.
As he heads into his last match, he could have easily taken on a tomato can or someone he could get an easy win over. Not so, for the Dutch Lumberjack as he gets ready to square off against the dangerous Tyrone Spong. When asked why by Global MMA, Aerts replied without fanfare: “Because he’s a good fighter. I prefer to fight my last fight against a good fighter."
Three very different fighters who made their own ways in the fight game; all three of these men exemplify the following statement made by US President Theodore Roosevelt on April 23, 1910, and it is as accurate over 100 years later: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”